Klein Sun Gallery is pleased to announce "Handle with Care," its third solo-exhibition for Shen Shaomin on view from March 7th through May 2nd, 2015.
The exhibition showcases the world-renowned, conceptual artist’s new series of oil paintings which challenge artistic originality and the traditional method of viewing art. The title, Handle with Care, commonly found on the wrappings of precious and fragile items, highlights the temporality and instability of artwork.
The series consists of more than twenty pieces portraying archetypal Pop Art works wrapped in protective plastic packaging. Through the translucent wrappings, the works are still vaguely visible; the viewer can immediately identify these works as replicas of Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup and other portraitures of cultural figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Mao Zedong, and John Lennon. Various logos of art handling companies, which appear to have been taped on, overshadow Warhol’s highly recognizable “brands.” Shen Shaomin probes the nature of artistic creation through the appropriation of Warhol’s pieces which occupy important territory in the historical discourse concerning individuality and authenticity.
Leaning against the wall of the gallery, furnished with veneers that deliver a deceptive effect, paintings from the "Handle with Care" series represent a pre-installation state, a transitional condition of artwork. The unconventional “hanging” method of this group also breaks the boundaries between painting and sculpture. The setting subverts the traditional manner in which one interacts with artworks inside a museum or gallery, further issuing a subtle statement of institutional critique.
Shen Shaomin manipulates the optic effect by rendering the pictorial surface of each painting with different degrees of translucency—from semi-lucid to absolutely opaque. He seeks to invoke the voyeuristic desire to see through the cover and the physical impulse to tear apart the bubble wrap to discover the “true” image underneath the wrapping. The exhibit challenges the boundaries between what is ideal and what is reality.
Shen Shaomin was born in Heilongjiang Province, China in 1956. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China. His work has been exhibited in museum shows around the world, including recent exhibitions “Encountering: New Art on the Silk Road,” Xinjiang Biennale, Urumqi, China (2014): "Hot Pot: A Taste of Contemporary Chinese Art," Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT (2013); "Go Figure: Contemporary Chinese Portraiture," Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, Australia (2012); "The Floating Eye," The 9th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China (2012); "The Unseen," The 4th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2012); "ARSENALE 2012," The First Kiev International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine (2012);"Flora and Fauna: MAD about Nature," Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2011); " Dead or Alive,” Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2010); and "The Beauty and the Distance," 17th Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia (2010).
An exhibition catalogue with an essay by Iona Whittaker will be published in conjunction with Handle With Care. For further information, please contact the gallery at (212) 255-4388 or firstname.lastname@example.org